EPA violations result in large fine for Ryland Homes

Source: The State, Columbia, SC, October 8, 2011
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

One of the nation’s largest homebuilders has agreed to pay a $625,000 fine for a series of storm water violations at construction sites across the country, including sites in South Carolina, the federal government said Friday.

Ryland Homes failed to obtain environmental permits in some cases, while failing to follow requirements of the permits in other cases, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency said.

Documents released Friday by the federal government provided few details about violations in South Carolina, but Ryland has built homes in South Carolina for years. Those include developments in the Charleston and Summerville areas.

Among other things, the government says the company failed to install adequate storm water controls at construction sites. When storm water laws are not followed, sediment and other pollutants can run into creeks, killing aquatic life and lowering water quality.

Sediment pollution, which can cause creeks to turn red with mud, is one of the major sources of stream pollution in the southeast.

“This settlement will help protect communities in states across the nation from harmful pollutants in storm water runoff,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. “Polluted storm water runoff can contaminate rivers, lakes and sources of drinking water, and it can be easily prevented with the system-wide management controls and training that this settlement now requires Ryland to implement,.”

The settlement requires Ryland to obtain any permits needed, do additional inspections and properly train staff, among other things, the EPA said.

The settlement is the most recent in a series of enforcement actions on stormwater violations at residential construction sites across the nation. Seven states have joined the settlement. Federal officials said Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada and Virginia will receive a portion of the $625,000 penalty. The settlement also includes sites in California, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas, the government said.

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